It’s not a major holiday like, say, Christmas or Easter. But we love to celebrate Valentines anyway. So we decided to step away from books for a few moments and give you a little glimpse into the lives of this rag-tag team by sharing a few of the things that we love.
The Whalen family celebrates Valentine’s Day the same way every year. I decorate my house, set a nice table, and then make a red meal, which basically means spaghetti and Cherry 7-Up. Even my big kids enjoy this simple observance of the holiday and look forward to the tradition. The piece de resistance is whatever chocolate goodie I come up with for dessert. This year it’s chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting (and sprinkles, of course).
A long time ago I decided to take the pressure off my husband for a romantic extravaganza and turned the holiday into an excuse to celebrate the love that we have as a family. He appreciated that and it’s helped to put the day into perspective. Instead of dreading the greeting card worthy production I used to require, now we all just look forward to making time to notice the love we have gathered around our table.
After dinner my husband and I have plans to catch the DVR’ed episode of this week’s episode of The Following. Because nothing says romance like a cult led by a serial killer devoted to Edgar Allen Poe. This is what happens when you’ve been married for 21 years.
I wouldn’t trade it for all the greeting card worthy romance in the world.
I love being a mom of all boys. My husband and I always wanted a daughter. We tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. Until we finally realized that we had a better chance of waking up with a new eye color one day than ever getting that girl. These days I find that my primary emotion is one of grattitude. I am so glad I have sons. I love that they play in the dirt and wear out the knees in their jeans. I love that they think dandelions are flowers and that they bring me one almost every day so I can tuck it behind my ear. I love the gap tooth smiles and the dimples and the lisps. I love that they beg me to read to them at night and that my oldest still can’t fall asleep unless I tuck him in. I love that I was the one who taught them to read. I love that they have memorized half the lines to the Princess Bride. (Anyone want a peanut?) I love that they are learning how to open doors and say “Yes ma’am.” I love that they are generous with hugs and kisses and “I love you’s.” I love that half of them have their daddy’s eye color and half have mine.
I love that my husband is showing these boys, by example, what it means to be a man. How to treat a woman. When to be strong and when to cry. I love that they light things on fire and build bike ramps and do science projects together. I love that he is not afraid to load up all four of them and go do the grocery shopping so I can have a little time to myself.
I love all the men in my life.
I lost one of the great love’s of my life just after Christmas, last year. He was a charming fellow with smiling, dark eyes. A bit of a rogue. He followed me around everywhere. He moved with me across country and back. He stayed beside me as I buried grandparents and welcomed all three of my children home when they were born. He never complained, ate everything I put in front of him. Until he didn’t. And the day I packed away his things, I believe was the first time I truly understood a broken heart. I miss Dexter every day and if you’ve never felt this way about a dog, or a pet, then I have to say I used to be like you. And then, i got lucky. So, this Valentine’s Day, I have a tender place that will always be his. But there’s a new fellow by the name of Fergus, with smiling, dark eyes. He’s taken over one end of the sofa. A bit of a rogue. And he’s teaching me the capacity of the human heart to heal and love again, and it’s a miracle every day.
We’d love to hear about the things in YOUR life that you love.
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.